Hall Of Fame

Next Generation Partners

Firms To Watch: Labour and employment: foreign firms

DLA Piper has a recognised employment practice led by of counsel David Smail, who transferred to Singapore from Hong Kong in 2021. Smail continues to work for a number of clients in North Asia, while building the employment team’s standing in Southeast Asia. He and the group have a lengthy list of multinational clients, including those that are headquartered in Asia Pacific.

Labour and employment: foreign firms in Singapore

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance draws on the expertise and experience of partners and associates in the corporate and dispute resolution departments. Much of the practice centres on representing financial institutions and asset managers, notably in relation to investigations into wrongful dismissal claims, sexual harassment, misuse of funds, and market manipulation. The Singapore office is also experienced in developing incentive structures for private equity houses and other financial investors. Kabir Singh is a key partner for investigations involving employee claims and allegations, along with Janice Goh, a partner in formal law alliance firm Cavenagh Law LLP. Valerie Kong leads in non-contentious matters, including incentives.

Practice head(s):

Kabir Singh; Valerie Kong

Other key lawyers:

Janice Goh


‘Quick turnaround with clear and helpful advice.’

‘Janice Goh is always very responsive and actively thinking along with our wishes. She is not only knowledgeable, but also practical. ’


Work highlights

  • Advising a major US financial institution in relation to a major anti-bribery and corruption investigation arising out of certain large construction projects in Hyderabad and Bangalore.
  • Advising a global real estate investment manager on a major internal investigation arising out of alleged manipulation in certain financial models in its APAC offices identified by its investor.
  • Advising a major US financial institution regarding investigations into and potential disciplinary proceedings against a very senior employee.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has extensive specialist employment expertise in the Singapore office with a major focus on investigations, risk management and termination of employment, restructurings, and employee incentives. The practice continues to advise a range of multinationals and large regional businesses on wide-ranging employment matters, including contentious and non-contentious issues; this encompasses investigations into misconduct and whistleblower claims. Singapore managing partner Fatim Jumabhoy heads the Asia employment, pensions, and incentives practice. Employment specialist associate Rebecca Lim is ‘incredible, as a lawyer and as person'; both Jumabhoy and Lim have in-house experience.

Practice head(s):

Fatim Jumabhoy

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Lim


‘They are a global team who collaborate very well. For any new clients who operate in many different jurisdictions this is a great selling point.’

‘Their responsiveness is fantastic, each team member operates the same way and always pull it out of the bag if we ever need their services at short notice.’

‘Highly commercial, understand the issues at play and how to best navigate those issues rather than providing a full run down of the legal framework, solution orientated and mindful of time costs.’


Linklaters has one of the most established, experienced and specialised teams in the market, and is noted for its focus on the financial services and technology sectors. It has a mix of advisory, transactional, and contentious work. It continues to impress in transaction-related employment matters and incentive arrangement issues in the asset management arena. It has demonstrated further expertise in restrictive covenants and ESG-related matters. Laure de Panafieu is ‘a stand-out partner' and is at the pinnacle of the market. Managing associate Chaiyee Oh is also experienced and highly rated.

Practice head(s):

Laure de Panafieu

Other key lawyers:

Chaiyee Oh


‘Very personal practice – the lawyers take time to understand the specifics of your issues and then comes up with a tailored solution. They are able to effectively mobilise the firm and offer the full suite of solutions – even when the issues are not labour-related. They also refer their partners in markets where they are not present. So far the experience with the Linklaters team has been far superior to any others.’

‘Laure de Panafieu has been a stand-out partner. She and her team deliver on time and provide precise advice with strong commercial groundings. To the extent that she is not able to assist, she has no hesitation to refer us to her colleagues across the firm, or to a partner firm. An all-round trusted consiglieri.’

‘Laure de Panafieu assisted us with various employment issues around the APAC region, including in Singapore, Hong Kong and China. Her team is able to deliver good practical advice and they also have good knowledge of the local requirements.’

Ashurst LLP

Ashurst LLP's Singapore employment team is led by counsel Karen Mitra, reporting directly to global practice head Stephen Woodbury in Sydney. The Singapore group has a fine record in advisory and transactional-related matters, and is further noted for advising multinationals on the launch of operations in Asia and the moves of senior executives into and out of Asia. It has an especially strong record in pan-Asia employment issues in the manufacturing, banking and finance, insurance, and medical technology sectors.

Practice head(s):

Karen Mitra

Key clients

Apollo Global Management

Pico Global Trading

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited

Alter Domus

IHS Markit

Commonwealth Government of Australia


Levin Group

University of Sydney


Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow's size and presence in Singapore fields it with extensive expertise and resources that are frequently applied in the employment field. The wide-ranging practice includes advisory, investigative, transactional, and contentious elements. The Singapore team represents a large number of multinationals that have significant operations in Singapore and across Southeast Asia. Contentious specialist Celeste Ang leads the Asia Pacific employment and compensation practice. Corporate partner Kelvin Poa is also experienced in advising on employment contracts, separation agreements, terminations of employment, and employee incentive compensation plans. Local principal Zhao Yang Ng specialises in employment law and immigration issues.

Practice head(s):

Celeste Ang; Kelvin Poa

Other key lawyers:

Zhao Yang Ng; Pradeep Nair; Chua Shu Ying; Averill Chow


‘Great team. Celeste Ang, Pradeep Nair and the junior associates are a real powerhouse. There is real depth of expertise when it comes to labour law, especially non-compete and trade secrets.’

‘Celeste Ang and Pradeep Nair are superb lawyers. They are clearly experts in their fields, but also very commercially minded. I personally can attest that they know tech very very well.’

‘The services from Baker cover multiple jurisdictions and the lawyers in different regions could rapidly reply and provide comments for our business. They are quite understanding of the trends and development of the industry. The comments or solutions are practical by well balancing the legal risks and commercial benefits. In addition, they keep supporting the business to comply with the local law by regularly sharing insight and regulatory updates.’

K&L Gates Straits Law LLC

K&L Gates Straits Law LLC's Singapore employment team specialises in advising domestic and multinational employers with operations throughout Southeast Asia. It continues to work intensively in advisory and transactional-related matters, including assisting clients with remote and hybrid working policies, employment termination matters, and international employee transfers and overseas employment arrangements. Christopher Tan is a senior employment specialist with a fine record in the media, music and entertainment, technology and software, engineering, finance and fintech, and manufacturing industries. Valerie Ang provides additional contentious employment expertise.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Tan

Other key lawyers:

Valerie Ang


‘They are very responsive and knowledgeable. We can trust their guidance.’

Key clients

Bespin Global

Bitgo, Inc.

Electronic Arts Asia Pacific


Flight Centre Travel Group

Jet Aviation (Asia Pacific) Pte Ltd

John Deere Asia (Singapore) Private Limited

Samsung SDS Asia Pacific Pte Ltd

Shinhan Bank

TripAdvisor Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted an advertising technology company with reviewing several of their various employment policies from a Singapore law perspective.
  • Advised a global strategy consulting firm on assisting a global healthcare company with the Singapore employment law landscape.
  • Advised an ASX-listed travel agency on employment issues in relation to its proposed acquisition of a Singapore incorporated target company, which had 21 subsidiaries, three of which were also Singapore-incorporated.

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons' Singapore-based employment team has made significant progress, building on the immense standing of the wider Asia Pacific team led by Fiona Loughrey in Hong Kong; Loughrey is closely involved with the Singapore team and is a registered foreign lawyer in the jurisdiction. The highly-rated Clarence Ding, who was promoted to partner in May 2022, now leads many of the Singapore team’s employment engagements, including highly sensitive matters for major multinationals. He and the team are noted for redundancy exercises, restructurings, internal investigations, and transactional matters.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Loughrey; Clarence Ding


‘Very experienced in multi-jurisdictional complex issues and reliable. Appreciate their practical advice.’

‘Enjoy working with Clarence Ding who provides concise practical advice. He is always available and very knowledgeable and able to handle multi-jurisdictional issues and connect colleagues in various jurisdictions who are very helpful.’

‘S&S provides industry updates and lunch time sessions on topics of interest which I find very useful.’

Squire Patton Boggs

At Squire Patton BoggsJulia Yeo leads the Asia Pacific labour and employment team from Singapore. The broad practice covers employee relations risk management, workplace investigations, privacy and data security, and employment disputes, among other areas. It has an impressive list of multinational clients from multiple industries that routinely turn to the Singapore office for assistance with high-stakes and highly sensitive issues. While much of the practice centres on Southeast Asia, the team’s reach also extends to North and South Asia too.

Practice head(s):

Julia Yeo

Other key lawyers:

Eu Li Lian


‘Julia Yeo and Eu Li Lian are both knowledgeable and well-connected with partner firms in the region to be able to support in various jurisdictions and provide clear advice on how to deal with employment matters.’

‘Julia Yeo is very experienced and stands out technically from her peers.’

‘The team was very responsive and provided advices and support in a clear, practical manner. They were a pleasure to work with.’

Julia Yeo and Eu Li Lian assisted us with an employment matter. They were both very responsive and supportive and provided clear guidance on the best way forward. They were exemplary in the handling of the matter.’